Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:
Honourable senators, I thought I
would join the debate on Motion No. 118, time allocation. What
happened here last Friday was quite incredible, so I think it's
very important to put on the record what we all think.
listened very carefully to what other honourable senators have
said this afternoon. Senator Martin told us that this time
allocation motion would allow us to have a timely and effective
debate, that debate on the bill had been sufficient, that enough
witnesses were called and that it was therefore equivalent to a
government bill. I beg to disagree. I don't believe we took the
process in the chamber.
If it had been a government bill, it wouldn't have sat for
such a long time on the Order Paper with no action. We received
the bill on October 17, 2013, for first reading. Senator Day
pointed out that we amended the bill in its original form and
sent it back to the House of Commons. However, when it came back
to us, those amendments were no longer there.
The bill was received in October 2013, and a year and a half
later, in May 2015, we got it back from the committee. If this
was such a pressing issue, if this really was a government-like
bill, why did we leave it sit for months and months? It was not
managed like a government bill. Suddenly, at the end of June,
it's critical that we pass it. We are doing things like issuing
time allocation motions and overruling the Speaker, of all
things. The Speaker thought about this carefully and in an
independent manner. Both Speakers Kinsella and Housakos came to
the conclusion that we should not be turning this into a
government bill and should not be putting time allocation on
If this were a government bill, it would have had the
involvement of Department of Justice lawyers and officials, and
all the drafting errors and unconstitutional aspects of the bill
probably would have been caught before it even got here. They
would have been caught in the House of Commons. So clearly this
bill is not equivalent to a government bill — not only because
of the way we have managed it but also because of the way it was
drafted. The flaws that are contained in it might have been
caught long before it got here.
Senator Cordy talked about the breaking of the rules, and
Senator Patterson said, "Oh, but we're not breaking our rules,"
and he quoted a couple of rules from our books. However, the
Speaker had looked at the rules and decided that they were
perfectly valid and that we should not be doing what we are
doing now, namely, trying to convert this bill into government
business. The Conservative majority has overruled the Speaker.
When we have rules, there is also the spirit and the intent
of the rules. I'm sure Senator Patterson understands that
phrase, "spirit and intent." Senator Day talked about how we in
the Senate have a certain spirit. We know that here in the
Senate we are supposed to be giving things sober second thought.
We're supposed to be representing our provinces and the people
who have written to us — that is, the thousands and thousands
from each province who have written to us saying, "This is not a
good bill. Please do not pass it as is. It needs to be amended.
It is a tremendously flawed bill." All those people have been
writing to us and saying, "Don't pass this bill."
The other thing that Senator Day spoke about is setting a
precedent of overruling the Speaker. In a sense, what we are
also doing is taking retroactive action. We are saying that when
this bill arrived here, in a sense, it was a government bill.
Are we going to keep doing this? With the next private member's
bill, for some reason are we going to change it into government
The really big question that has to be asked and that has to
be answered by your side, by the Conservative senators in
support of this, is this: Why have you decided to do this?
Canadians deserve to know why you have decided to do this,
because two years ago, 16 of you voted to support amending the
bill. I think about five of you abstained. So the bill was
amended and sent back to the House of Commons. Why has that
position changed? Why are you now pushing to have the original
bill passed without any amendments?
That is what Canadians want to know. That's a really big
question. I think during this debate the onus is upon you —
especially those of you who voted in support of amendments last
time — to get up and defend your position. Why now, all of a
sudden, are you saying, "Well, it's okay. It's a government bill
now, and I have decided those amendments are no longer
necessary"? You should be standing up and defending your
An Hon. Senator: Hear, hear!
Senator Dyck: The onus should not just be on our side
to get up and say why we think time allocation is not good. It's
up to you to get up and defend why you have changed your
You know who you are. I have the list in my front of me; I
don't know if I should read it or not. You know who you are.
Perhaps I will find it and read it in here — no, I won't. It's
okay to change your mind, but you have to be convinced. You
could be convinced by your other colleagues to change your mind,
but it's also incumbent upon you, I think, to explain why you've
changed your minds. Is it a party position? What has convinced
you that you should go forward in this way? That's the thing
that sticks in my craw — the fact that you have changed your
position and have not explained to us or to Canadians, not
explained to all those thousands of people who are against this
bill, why, all of a sudden, it is necessary to pass this bill in
its original, unamended form when we know full well that it's
unconstitutional. It breaks the Privacy Act, the majority of
unions are against it, and it is simply not right. Can you
explain to Canadians why you have done this? That is what you
really need to do.
I am definitely not in support of this motion on time
allocation. For those reasons, I can't support this motion. We
are essentially breaking our rules. Speaker Housakos and Speaker
Kinsella have told us that we have done that. We are breaking
our own rules for a bill that should not be passed. It makes no
sense, people. It makes no sense. Why are you doing this? Can
you explain that to me and to Canadians?
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.